In Defense of Deception

Two men on a plane were talking. One man looks at the other, after being told about the problems of capitalism..

“Your criticism of capitalism is that it is 1) deceitful 2) hides truth.

1) Deceptive? Yeah, so is everything, including you. Self deception is necessary for survival, even for basic functioning. Herbert Fingarette did a great job in his book showing just that. Here is a link

Not only that but procreation is based on deception. How do you mate? You seduce or get seduced. What is seduction if not deception?

Are ads deceptive? Yes, but you have a choice. Don’t look at them. In alternate systems of control, you are force fed whatever the government gives you. Closer to the 1984 scenario. I just don’t see how any group of humans, who are, by nature, deceitful, can be trusted to be truthful to the people. So I’m not buying this whole idea of deceitfulness as a problem of capitalism, strictly.

2) Hides truth. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the world was different. Think about this for a moment. Each individual, no matter where they are in the world, basically has access to all human knowledge all of the time at their fingertips, if they have a cheap phone and an internet connection. That to me, is ridiculously utopian. I don’t think people understand what that means. Okay, let me try to paint a picture. If capitalism didn’t exist, there would be no internet, no Google, no Amazon, nada. 

By the way, the internet exists because of the military and porn propped up by capitalistic incentives. Very ugly, but think of a world without the internet. More or less oppressive? More or less truth? More or less trust? More or less openness? More or less transparency?

The point of Ridley’s book,The Rational Optimist, is that in today’s world, if you specialize in anything, you will get access to knowledge and tools and food and shelter and technology that the most powerful kings in history could only dream of. We are all so incredibly blessed to live in 2021 and not in 1721 or 1421 or 721.

Does the system have problems? Sure. But there are no serious alternatives. Why? Because I’ll reiterate a previous point, it’s not about what ideas we like, it’s about what ideas work best. We have this illusion of control. We think we can choose which system we want to live in. It’s all a croc of shit. We have hypotheses, we test them out, the best ideas win, end of story. It’s not up to us. We, as individuals, and even world leaders, are nothing but miniscule components of a much larger process that dictates how we live.

We are instruments. It’s depressing, yes. But we don’t get to choose whether or not we want to be instruments, we only get to choose if we want to be instruments that get taken care of before we are replaced by new instruments that will do a better job. That’s the most utopic thing we can hope for. This is reality, as far as I see it and understand it. If you think I’m mistaken, or I’m missing something, do let me know. I’d love to have a more optimistic vision.”

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